- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dear Sgt Shaft:

I’ve heard from a veteran friend here in North Carolina that he can get talking prescriptions from the VA hospital. He gets his prescriptions with an special electronic label. They also gave him a free device that reads the electronic labels and speaks the label information out. What a lifesaver.

He didn’t know much more, but suggested I write you. I desperately need something like this. I have had several close-calls lately with my medicines. Do you know if non-veterans can get this type of service? I understand that Wal-Marts in Northern Virginia offer this service to the civilian blind.

Thanks in advance,

Charlotte W.
North Carolina

Dear Charlotte:

The VA has mandated ScripTalk for a decade. The Sarge is happy that several pharmacies are now starting to offer this. A few chain stores have started to provide ScripTalk, but it’s hit or miss. Wal-mart, in particular, is taking good strides to give this service, and we should all applaud them. CVS should begin offering the service soon via mail. The Sarge praises Wal-mart for taking the lead in having members of the blind population be able to purchase safe prescription drugs in Virginia. I hope they expand this service to all Wal-Mart stores.

Shaft notes

• The Sarge joins Rep. Jeff Miller, a Florida Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and Rep. Gus Bilirakis, a Florida Republican and vice chairman, in praising Wal-Mart for its decision to hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years.

Mr. Miller cited the need for a public-private partnership to reduce unemployment among veterans: “I’ve said it many times before, although certain government programs can provide veterans with the tools they need to succeed following military service, the key to putting veterans into lasting, meaningful employment rests with the private sector.

“Sixteen months ago several committee members and I held a roundtable on veterans’ unemployment with leading private sector companies. Wal-Mart was among the first to sign a pledge to do its part in putting America’s veterans back to work. With today’s announcement, Wal-Mart is taking the first step to match its pledge with concrete action. I commend Wal-Mart’s leadership for this bold step forward.”

Mr. Miller also pointed out that despite the reduction in the veterans’ overall unemployment rate over the past few months, too many recently discharged veterans are still having a hard time finding a good job.

“I hope every service member leaving the military will make use of every opportunity to prepare themselves for civilian life, whether as a student or as a member of the workforce. Thorough preparation, beginning with the Transition Assistance Program, better known as TAP, means that companies like Wal-Mart will find it easier to hire our veterans because they will be job-ready,” Mr. Miller said.

“This is a great example of a private sector initiative to help our veterans get back to work. As our nation’s heroes make the transition to civilian life, every effort to help them find employment within their communities is to be commended,” Mr. Bilirakis said. “Congress will continue to work to foster a climate for economic growth, so our economy can continue to create jobs and strengthen the private sector.”

• The Sarge also joins Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki who released the following statement on the passing of Former Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Gordon H. Mansfield:

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